'SNL' cold open: Biden advisers warn of Russian disinformation: 'Like a good neighbor, you are now Russia!'

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This weekend’s “Saturday Night Live” cold open had President Biden (James Austin Johnson) reeling over Russia’s disinformation campaign ahead of its suspected plans to invade Ukraine.

His White House staff’s counter-proposal: Bring in a high school mean girl to match Putin with her own teenage version of psychological warfare. 

National security advisers (played by “SNL”‘s Ego Nwodim, Alex Moffat and Keenan Thompson) briefed the president on a barrage of fake news, memes, TikTok videos, dating app ads and even a commercial for Russian Allstate insurance, where “Like a good neighbor, you are now Russia!” 

They also showed the president a series of fake news headlines saying: “Ukrainian border encroaching on Russian troops” and “American CDC strongly recommends Russia invade Ukraine.”

Johnson’s Biden quickly corrected that the CDC advisory applied for only a few months in 2020. 

“The science was changing so fast,” he said.

James Austin Johnson as President Biden on "Saturday Night Live," Jan. 15, 2022.

James Austin Johnson as President Biden on “Saturday Night Live,” Jan. 15, 2022.
(Getty Images)

Other Russian disinformation claims, according to Biden’s advisers: Musician Neil Young had threatened to remove his playlist from Spotify unless Ukraine invaded and a dating app called SoldiersOnly.com promised lonely Ukrainian women that 100,000 Russian troops were standing by to talk to them. 


They presented a popular meme showing NBA great Michael Jordan crying, with the caption, “Why I gotta be Ukrainian when Russia two feet away” and a TikTok video of two Russian and Ukrainian soldiers doing a synchronized dance.

St. Volodymyr's Cathedral is seen in Kyiv, Ukraine, Jan. 28, 2022.

St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral is seen in Kyiv, Ukraine, Jan. 28, 2022.
(Getty Images)

Cast member Pete Davidson appeared in a disinformation commercial for Allstate insurance as Aaron Rodgers, saying in an Eastern European accent that he was the “American ballplayer” who had broken down on the side of the road in Ukraine.

“Like a good neighbor, Russia is there!” he sang. 

Deciding they needed to “fight fire with fire,” the advisers brought in Mikayla (Chloe Fineman), a high school mean girl and Biden’s new secretary of defense. 

“Hi!” Fineman exaggerated. “I’m Mikayla spelled the worst way. I’m a junior at a vicious girl’s high school and y’all work for me now.” 

President Biden speaks at the White House in Washington, Jan. 24, 2022. 

President Biden speaks at the White House in Washington, Jan. 24, 2022. 
(Associated Press)


Mocking the CIA’s own “rough” attempts at disinformation memes and TikTok videos and dismissing Biden’s idea of a drone strike, she explained of her generation, “We don’t believe in drone strikes, we believe in breaking down our enemies psychologically. That’s why I’m going to DM Putin and say, ‘Oh my god, I loved your outfit the other day. Was that Old Navy?’” 

She claimed the backhanded compliment would leave him “spiraling” and wondering, “Do they think I’m poor?” and in three weeks he will have “completely lost his mind.” 

“Spider-Man” star Willem Dafoe guest-hosted the Jan. 29 episode and Katy Perry was the musical guest.  


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